Saturday, January 21, 2012

A worthwhile conference?

I have just returned from speaking to the African American pastors' conference on preaching. (see last post) Carol ably assisted me with the flip-chart, handing out papers and overseeing the bookstall. Earlier, several factors had seemed to create difficulty. Last night over 6 inches of snow fell dramatically in the Chicago area, which meant most people had struggles to dig out cars this morning. Illness prevented some pastors from attending and, of course, my own schedule with pre-op yesterday and surgery next week somewhat clouded the day.

But, it turned out to be a glorious occasion. Why?

  • the levels of attentiveness. I was speaking after lunch to pastors who had 101 other things to do. I took one passage for study: the stilling of the storm (Mark 4: 35-41). One of them commented they had seen it "hundreds of times" before! YET, they engaged from the start as though it was fresh text, with high energy.

  • collaboration. When I asked them to work with their neighbor the decibels shot up and responses overwhelmed the flip chart. With care and depth the pastors gave their best.

  • appreciation. There was great warmth towards us both at the end - several commented that to see my "first lady" so obviously committed alongside me had been a highlight. How often she has been taken for granted. Not today!

  • prayer - at the end hands were laid on us and a moving prayer was offered for us both as I face surgery next week.

It was an invigorating, stretching experience. To be the only two white people surrounded by such surging love and interest was a great privilege. Really. I know I am the last person there to comment objectively on whether it was a worthwhile conference, but I know we experienced the love and commitment of a great group of leaders. I look forward to seeing where it leads.

1 comment:

Curryanne said...

Your comment about Carol rang true to me. I had shoulder surgery last November. I learned that Dave truly was special. And often not appreciated as I should have. It is eye opening to be helpless and know that without that person you could not get along. I knew and loved Dave as special. But after surgery, I learn how truly special its to have my right hand more ways than one since he was literally my right hand and still is as I continue to heal.

My prayers to you and your medical staff, and especially Carol at this time.